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OMAR KHAYYAM ("THE TENT-MAKER")
Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer
(c.1048 - 1131)
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Strange--is it not?--that of the myriads who
  Before us passed the door of Darkness through,
    Not one returns to tell us of the road
      Which to discover we must travel too.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 68),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Death]

The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
  Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
      Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 71),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Change : Fate]

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
  Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die,
    Lift not your hands to it for help--for it
      As impotently moves as you or I.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 72),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Sky]

And this I know; whether the one True Light
  Kindle to Love, or Wrath consume me quite,
    One flash of it within the Tavern caught
      Better than in the temple lost outright.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 77),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Light]

Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
  And ev'n with Paradise devise the snake;
    For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
      Is blackened--Man's forgiveness give and take!
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 81 (later ed.))
        [Forgiveness]

Said one among them: "Surely not in vain
  My substance of the common Earth was ta'en
    And to this Figure moulded, to be broke,
      Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again."
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 84),
        (Fitzgerald's translation) [Pottery]

All this of Pot and Potter--Tell me then,
  Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 87),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Pottery]

Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose.
  That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close!
    The Nightingale that in the branches sang
      Ah whence and whither flown again, who knows?
      - The Rubaiyat (st. 96),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Spring]

You know how little while we have to stay,
  And, once departed, may return no more.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. III),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Life]

Ah Love! could you and I with him conspire
  To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire
    Would we not shatter it to bits--and then
      Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire?
      - The Rubaiyat (st. IX),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Life]

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
  Upon this Checker-board of Nights and Days;
    Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
      And one by one back in the Closet lays.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. LXIX),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Life]

A Moment's Halt--a momentary taste
  Of Being from the Well amid the Waste--
    And, Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach'd
      The Nothing it set our from. Oh, make haste!
      - The Rubaiyat (st. XLVIII),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Life]

Think, in this battered Caravanserai,
  Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
    How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
      Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. XVII),
        (FitzGerald's translation) [Life : World]

I came like Water, and like Wind I go.
      - The Rubaiyat (st. XXVIII) [Life]


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